| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Jan 13 A New York woman who founded
two firms pleaded guilty on Friday to defrauding investors,
including friends and family members, out of more than $23
million by lying about her rates of return in order to cover up
her growing trading losses.
Haena Park, who established Phaetra Capital Management LP
and Argenta Group LLC, entered her plea in Manhattan federal
court to one count of commodities fraud, admitting that she lied
to her more than 40 investors.
"I am deeply ashamed and remorseful," she said in court.
The 41-year-old Manhattan resident faces up to 10 years in
prison when she is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ronnie
Abrams on April 28. As part of a plea deal, she agreed to
forfeit nearly $23.2 million.
According to court papers, Park solicited investments from
friends, family and former Harvard University classmates by
touting herself as an accomplished foreign-exchange currency
trader who had generated annual returns of as high as 48.9
In fact, Park's trading was consistently unsuccessful, and
she lost $19.5 million of the $20 million she traded, mostly in
highly leveraged futures and foreign exchange transactions,
Park generated fictitious account statements that showed
investors were making money almost every month, prosecutors
said. They said she hid her trading losses by returning $3
million to earlier investors from funds deposited by new
Park, who according to school records graduated from Harvard
in 1998 with a psychology degree, was arrested in June. She also
faces lawsuits by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
The case is U.S. v. Park, U.S. District Court, Southern
District of New York, No. 16-cr-00473.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; editing by Grant